By BRITTANY TRAN
The 3,300 popsicle stick crucifixes created the “Cemetery of the Innocent,” meant to create awareness about the issue of abortion as well as to kick-start the We Will Not Rest Conference hosted by Students for Life that occured March 9 in Dillon II.
Sophomore Nicholas Van Cleve, president of Students for Life, said abortion has taken place for over 40 years under Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court case in which abortion was deemed a fundamental right. He also said anti-abortion supporters need to stay strong in the resistance against abortion.
“This conference provides opportunities for different leaders and members of organizations in Texas to come and learn more about different activities they can do, how best they can be effective on campus, retain members, build membership, save lives and get connected with the wider pro-life community,” Van Cleve said.
The conference featured speakers from Students for Life America and Human Life International-America. Attendees participated in breakout sessions with group discussions where they brainstormed ways to help create awareness on their respective campuses.
Speaker Brendan O’Morchoe, who works for Students For Life America, said he believes that each person can empower others to choose life through building relationships based upon understanding. He also said it was important to know who people are, where they are, what their concerns are and to address those concerns. This will create a ripple effect that can help spread the word.
“It only takes one person to start a wild-fire,” O’Morchoe said. “Each person here has that ability and capacity to start that wildfire by getting the campus, the community and the nation on fire for protecting life.”
During breakout sessions, attendees had the opportunity to learn about tabling, how to engage students in the anti-abortion discussion by hosting events such as sidewalk counseling, beginning a fund for pregnant women on campus who are in need of aid and about a different aspect of the anti-abortion movement in working with the disabled.
To sophomore Joshua Jones, vice president of Students for Life, the issue of abortion is personal. He remembers sitting across the kitchen table from his grandmother, hearing her talk about the guilt and the pain she still feels about her abortion decades ago.
“I realized at that moment I can talk about the arguments all I want, but the reality is that everyday women are struggling with this, so it motivated me to get involved,” Jones said.
This passion led Jones, along with 24 other students, to collectively spend 150 hours over one weekend creating 3,300 crosses for display, which are meant to represent death as well as life.
“The red cross in the middle symbolized that death is not the end of hope,” Jones said. “We want to create a culture that values the dignity of life on campus.”